Monday, October 26, 2015

Perennial Grasses add Interest to Winter Garden

Today my neighbor came to see me, he had his lawn trimmer in his hand, he asked me how far back he should cut his perennial grass garden. I replied that spring is the best time to cut the grass back and that I recommend that the grasses be left alone.

My neighbor looked at me blankly, it was clear that he could not visualize what his yard and garden would look like so I went to and did a digital design that would show my neighbor how lovely his yard and garden would look if he did not cut his perennial grasses back until spring. 

The winters are long and cold and I think the dried grasses look nice. The grass plumes are eye appealing plus they add movement and provide wildlife with shelter, windbreak for birds, rabbits and cats.  I took this photo last fall of cat lying under the fountain grass in the winter. 

Feral Gray Tabby Cat in Woods Greeting Card
Feral Gray Tabby Cat in Woods Greeting Card by giftsforcatlovers

In the autumn season after I remove the leaves I trim the grasses so they are more manicured and off the garden path.  Then I will mulch around the fountain, and reed grasses. This mulch will add a more manicured look to the garden.

You can also highlight the grass garden with solar lights then when you look out at your yard at night during the winter months you will view a garden area that is eye appealing.  This is why I recommend leaving your ornamental grasses alone throughout the autumn and winter months.  

Here is a photograph of my grass garden next to my garden path.  The photo was taken after I trimmed the grass as it had grown over the stepping stones.

Grass garden in autumn, dried plumes look lovely
Fountain grass in winter looks interesting


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Covered Tropical Plants with Frost Covers

Tonight is cold night, and I took steps to cover my orchids and elephant ear tropical plants with frost covers.  The forecast does not call for a freeze and tomorrow it will be warm again but with temperatures dipping into the low 40's I thought best to cover my tropical plants.

The weather that we are having is not normal for this time of the year.  It is a cold snap with back to normal temperatures in a few days.  By Monday the high is 88 degrees Fahrenheit and the forecast shows many days of warm weather.  For this reason I decided to leave my tropical plants outdoors for now.  The frost cover will protect them and tomorrow I will uncover them and the orchids will look so pretty.

Eventually I will have to take all tropical plants indoors and get the elephant ears ready for winter storage. At the moment  I am putting that off.  I want to prolong the garden season as long as I can.

Do you have orchids or other tropical plants?  When do you bring them indoors?

Here is a photo of tropical elephant ears in container.  

Elephant ear container plant
And if you like orchids then you will love this yellow one.  I think it is gorgeous, so I turned it into a postcard.  You can view it at my Susang6 online shop.

Yellow Orchid in Bloom Postcard
Yellow Orchid in Bloom Postcard by Susang6
Browse Yellow flower Postcards online at

Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting Gardens Ready for First Snow

I learned today that the weather forecast for the end of October is snow followed by bitter cold weather.  Know that this cold weather is coming very early in season and at a time that we usually enjoy our yard and garden.

Autumn season cut short due to snow forecast

Today and probably all of next week I will have to work harder on the gardens to get them ready for the frigid cold weather and snow.  Normally I do not cut back my lilies until after a hard frost, but plan on cutting them back so I can cover the flower bed with mulch.  I will also have to plant 120 daffodils next week, because this must be done before the ground freezes.
My yard and gardens with snow

I started working in the side yard, clearing  the brush that was growing next to the dog kennel.  I got 8 feet cut back and have another 9 feet to finish.  While working I noticed that my irises rhizomes are above the soil line and suspect that removing the leaves last week from the garden caused erosion.  I will probably add a layer of compost next week and maybe a light layer of natural mulch.  I am thinking that ice will not be good for them since their roots are just bellow the soil.

Then when all the manicuring and caring for flower gardens is completed I have to stake the gardens with poles with flags because if I do not my hubby will plow the snow through the gardens.  Yes it safe to say that I am going to be busy next week because I must get the yard and gardens ready for first snow of the season.

Is the weather changing where you live?  Will you have snow in October?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Deciduous Trees Have Canker Disease

I am not a tree expert but when I saw that there was something wrong with my willow and mimosa tree bark I knew it was not normal. The bark had cracked open and separated leaving a hole that allowed insects to go inside. I treated the area infection with organic pest control but it had little affect on the problem. Within a week my mature mimosa tree subcombed to whatever had infected it and died. My pine, oak and silver maple trees were also infected with canker disease.

I love my trees and was not willing to let them die just because we have the no chemical rule in our yard and garden. So I called a tree expert and met with him yesterday. Learned that the trees were infected with Canker disease which is a fungus.

Here is a postcard that I created from a photograph of my silver maple tree. If I lose this tree to the canker disease and termites then the autumn season will not be the same. Hoping that we caught all in time.

The expert on closer examination found that the trees had termites too. They had gotten into the tree from the open wound on tree branches and trunk that had become infected with fungus.

I agreed to the treatment for my trees, it was a chemical but I had to do it or I would lose all 8 mature trees in my yard. The tree expert will check back the end of the month to see if further treatment is needed. He told me that once the tree becomes infected it may take up to 4 treatments to get rid of the termites and kill the fungus.

Know that the two trees that we cut down yesterday, that the wood needed to be disposed of and the stump and surrounding area needed to be treated to put a stop to the spread of fungus, bacteria and termites.